ARK’s mixed media art heals and inspires

Art creates conversation, letting artists revealing the most vulnerable parts of themselves with the world. Creating Artist Abigail Rain uses ARK as her signature in the art world, marking each of her colorful, vulnerable mixed-media pieces as her own.  

ARK explained that the pieces in the gallery are based on a year in art therapy that let her use creativity to come to terms with her past. 

“Ever since I was young, I have used art as a means of therapy. I come from a background of domestic violence and abuse, so my imagination – my creative intent – was always an escape,” shared ARK. “Now I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to rewrite that narrative of victim versus survivor; [it’s] a combination of my identity and figuring out how much of my childhood perception I want to bring along. My art is reflective of that struggle.” 

Because of her childhood, ARK has a very personal connection with all of the pieces in the gallery. The gallery is a period of exploration, both emotionally and physically. ARK used several mediums in her art. 

“I’m a mixed media artist because whatever looks cool, I’m going to use. I use all different kinds of media; whatever’s in my environment,” said ARK. 

One of the pieces in this particular gallery has hot sauce listed as one of the mediums. 

“In that piece, specifically, the hot sauce, I just had it out, and I was like, ‘I wonder if the red is going to mix well with the blue?’ And it made it way more vibrant, so I was like,’ all right, we’re using hot sauce,’” shared ARK. 

So far, sharing her art has been successful. ARK shared that she recently had a conversation with someone at the gallery and found out that her messages got across in all the right ways.

“[The viewer] was telling me, ‘it just makes me feel like I can make art, or like I should try to like make art, even though I’m not artistic.’ That’s all I wanted to get across was,” shared ARK. “You need to still give room for your inner child to have dreams and express themselves even into adulthood. I hope people want to make stuff and believe that they can.” 

Furthermore, sharing her art does something for ARK’s wellbeing too.

“I made the art while in art therapy, and the last step of any type of therapy is to witness. Like when people are doing slam poetry, or sharing their testimony,” said ARK. “Just to have another person see it is a part of the healing process.” 

ARK has now delved into Mankato’s art community, and plans to stick around by teaching other artists in the community over the next few months. 

“I’ve fallen in love with this community, especially this art community. I’m going to be teaching at the Makerspace hopefully and a place called Safe Relations over the next couple of months,” said ARK. 

ARK’s mixed media gallery runs through March 26 at the 410 Project.

Write to: Lilly Schmidt at lillian.schmidt@mnsu.edu

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